Of People Who Identify As Plants
Otherkin are people who identify as nonhuman on an integral and personal level. What otherkin specifically identify as can vary greatly, though animal-identified people (called specifically therians for Earth animals or animalkin for animals in general) are some of the most common. Less common, but still off and on seen in the otherkin communities are plant-identified people. They are people who identify as a living organism that gains energy through photosynthesis which exists or once existed on Earth, or as they are simply referred to in everyday life, a plant.
Now to define what and who such plant-identified people are a little more thoroughly, they can be defined as people who feel they are (non-physically) some kind of plant on an integral level. They are people who are, feel, and/or believe they are a plant or something plant-like on an integral and personal level. This identification is a long term feeling of being nonhuman somehow. It's something which persists even after evaluating one’s experiences and trying to come to other possible conclusions. They are people that, regardless of their human body, identify as some species of plant.Like other kinds of otherkin, some possible experiences plant-identified people are things along the lines of phantom sensations of nonhuman characteristics (in their case likely roots, bark, stems/branches, etc), mindsets and viewpoints that are attributed to certain nonhuman species(in their case thoughts one might associate with being plant-like), dysphoria over some or all aspects of the human body and feeling some or all aspects of another species to being more appropriate, possibly having dreams about being or related closely to their nonhuman identity, a persistent feeling of being a nonhuman species, etc. The only real differences between plant-identified people and nonhuman-identified people in general is the plant focus rather than another kind of human creature. Yet still, just as there are otherkin of same nonhuman identity who experience some things differently, so to can plat-identified people. Different people of the same or different kintypes can easily have similar or different experiences. The core feature in the end us just that a person honestly identifies as something nonhuman in an integral, personal, etc way.
The number of people who have been noted as plant-identified people or such people have been mentioned are very few and far between. As far as a few mentions that I am personally aware of, they are sadly limited. On Alt.horror.werewolves in the 1995 someone claimed to have met three plant-identified people though none such people appeared to have ever posted on the usergroup personally. In 2004 a small website was created over the topic of plant-identified people. In 2004 and 2006 two different groups on Livejournal were created for plant-identified people. Also in 2006, a forum was created in an attempt to give plant-identified people a place to discuss their experiences among themselves. In Lupa’s Field Guide to Otherkin published in 2007 one of the people who responded to Lupa’s survey and whose experiences were talked about in the book had had a past life as a species of flower. To name a few instances over the years.
Due to their being so few (at least active online in the community) plant-identified people over the years, there is also very little information or shared experiences of such people out there online. Because of this various terms have been used over just within two decades to describe plant-identified people due to the lack of plant-identified people to help set down a sable term within the communities. However since roughly the mid 2000s to present, the term plantkin is the most accepted and most commonly used term to refer to people who identify as a plant. Plantkin is a portmanteau of “plant” and “otherkin” and thus is constructed the same way as many other subsets of otherkin such as angelkin and faekin have been coined. (The word otherkin itself is a portmanteau of the words “other” and “kin[d].”) The term plantkin came about back in 2003 (along with term “greenkin” to mean the same thing). Phytanthropy comes from the Greek word phyton meaning “plant” and the Greek word anthropoe meaning “human/man.” The term is not an old one as far as I am aware. I coined the term for myself in February 2013 on the therian forum, Werelist. It is a term constructed similar to the term therianthropy which comes from the Greek words for beast and human. Other terms which I have heard other plant-identified people use over the years include weretree (once used in the early therian community), greenkin (once used mostly during the mid-2000s), and woodkin (also once used during the mid-2000s though not as often as greenkin).
Plant-identified people are certainly not common otherkin, at least based on the number who are active or were once active online in some part of the otherkin community. There are all sorts of animal-identified people, but there simply aren’t that many people who identify as plants at all. So, why are plant-identified people so uncommon to the point of being almost unheard of? Well, that goes into the eternal question of why any kintype is more common or less common than others. There are a lot of ideas running around on many levels depending on who, how, when, where, and why you ask. However, when thinking about why plant-identified person are so rare, it seems easy to see no matter how one views what causes being nonhuman in identity, that identifying as a plant in a human body is just an extremely alien idea to find an understanding of such a thing. At least for a number of nonhuman animals, they are not nearly as alien as any plant in comparison to a human. A large number of therians are mammals of some kind, which are not as alien as other animals such as insects or fish (which are rarer as theriotypes). At least with most animals, they share many biological functions if not even some level of behavioral traits in common with humans given that humans are animals as well. However, compare that to plants and they are even more alien.
Broader still to other kinds of otherkin, creatures such as dragons, angels, and elves are familiar to many people both in form and by nature through stories and art. Plants are familiar by form (obviously) but not too often or at all really do we have a chance to see things from a plant’s (anthropomorphized obviously) perceptive. In stories wolves and dragons, for example, are characterized and anthropomorphized giving some form of view into how they might think and feel. Also, any education into plants rarely if ever goes much beyond how they obtain energy, compared to the wealth of information given on animals in some form or another. Whether one sees being otherkin as spiritual or not, if one knows nothing about something it's hard to know if one identifies as such. After all, it's hard to begin to label what one might identify as without having an idea on what and how other creatures might act in real-life let alone how that might be mimicked in some fashion in the mind of a human being. Yet, even if they are uncommon, there still are people who identify as plants regardless. It might be hard, it seems, for people to identify as a plant, but it is not impossible.
So, thought they are uncommon, plant-identified people do exist and have appeared around in the otherkin community over the years nevertheless. We are indeed out there though and have been around the otherkin community for years. Therians are not the only otherkin who identify with something nonhuman which actually exist. There are also people who identify as a plant. Plant-identified people, whether they are called plantkin or phytanthropes, are simply not that common.
- Darahagh (male, southern live oak)
Tags: Newcomers, Terminology & Definitions, Kintypes & Theriotypes, Community